A host of options are open to El Drama after he lowered the colours of several highly regarded colts in the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester on Thursday.

A winner on debut at Doncaster last autumn, El Drama had run creditably without setting the world alight this season when third on his first two three-year-old starts. However, the Roger Varian-trained colt was a different proposition back on turf at Chester, always travelling easily in the hands of Andrea Atzeni before committing off the home turn. From then on, El Drama maintained his advantage in resolute fashion down the centre of the track to cross the line a length to the good of Maximal in second.

Earlswood was another two-and-three-quarters of a length away in third.

El Drama is a half-brother to Listed winner Volume, who ran third in both the Epsom and Irish Oaks before producing champion two-year-old Quorto, and out of Victoire Celebre, a Peintre Celebre daughter of Prix du Cadran heroine Victoire Bleue.

As such, there is plenty of stamina within his pedigree. However, there remains a question mark in Varian’s mind as to whether the colt will prove just as effective over a mile and a half.

“We thought El Drama would stay 10f well and be a better horse back on grass and we’re delighted to see him do today,” he said. “It was nice to see him reignite his reputation and his campaign.

“If he did run in the Derby there would be a question mark whether he’d get a truly run mile and a half. You wouldn’t know until you tried it, but he’s not short of pace and ten furlongs might be his best trip for now. Having spoken to Sheikh Obaid, all options are open and he’d like him to be considered for the Prix du Jockey Club.”

Bred by Farm Cove Thoroughbreds, El Drama becomes the 81st stakes winner for Ballylinch Stud’s stalwart Lope De Vega and was sold by the stud for 425,000gns to Varian at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Sale.


Successful return for Japan

Also on the card, Group 1 winner Japan made a successful return to action with a cosy victory in the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes.

Partnered by Ryan Moore, the five-year-old enjoyed a dream passage up the inside and ran down a brave Trueshan to win by three-quarters of a length as the 13/8 favourite. Sonnyboylisten was another three-and-a-half lengths away in third.

“I’ve always had a very high opinion of this horse, I think he’s just beautiful,” Moore told ITV Racing. “He travels nice, that ground is just sticky enough for him and the trip stretches him but he’s got loads of class.”

Japan, by Galileo, was bred by Newsells Park Stud out of their wonderful mare Shastye, also the dam of Mogul, Secret Gesture and Sir Isaac Newton.

Japan and Ryan Moore (centre) pictured alongside Trueshan during the first circuit of the Ormonde Stakes. Photo – Bill Selwyn